Destination: Austin Family
As you may have read in my biography or in many of my posts over at Destination: Austin Family, I am a techno-geek, tried and true. I’ve been in the Information Technology field for over 25 years and while I find what I do very satisfying, it doesn’t fulfill a base need that probably exists within most of us: the need to “make” something.
Think about it – in the modern workplace, many of us spend our 40 hour+ work weeks in an office or a cubicle and what tangible items do we have to show for it? Our parents, grand-parents and all of our ancestors were more likely to be involved in work that actually “made” stuff: car assembly line workers, factory workers, farmers, etc. Perhaps this is why so many of us often use the question “What do you do?” when meeting someone for the first time. We do, we no longer make – the doing defines us, not the end product.
Several years ago, as a means of satisfying this “emptiness” of a sorts, I embarked on several projects involved with “making stuff.”
So, what was this horrendous, crime against archival nature that Thomas committed? Well, it involved a set of holiday ornaments that I created using CDVs and cabinet photos purchased on ebay. And I used the actual photos instead of scanning them and using the digital images.
Please, please, do not repeat my mistake. It doesn’t matter that the photos were purchased in a thrift store or at a flea market or online. It doesn’t matter that the subjects are not your family – they are someone’s family. So here is what you should do in all the projects listed in this post:
• Scan the images using the scanning “best practices” such as 300 dpi or greater resolution, saving images to TIFF format, etc. Also remember to scan the back of photos especially if there is a photographer’s mark.
• Consider posting unidentified images over at Dead Fred where others may be able to identify them and connect them with family members.
• There are many ways you can get that “antiqued” look with an image off your printer or from a photo processor as described below.
• Experiment with different types of photo paper – you’d be amazed at what is available, most of it online. Photographic paper comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, even self-adhesive which is perfect for crafting. See the Resources section at the end for specific vendors.
• The heavy backing for CDVs and cabinet photos can easily be recreated with card stock.
• You can scan the back of the photo, which often contains very elaborate scrollwork listing the photographer’s studio name and address. Print this in a brown or sepia ink and paste it on the back of your printed photo with card stock in between.
• Use your photo imaging software to produce sepia or other mono-chromatic tones for printing.
• Once printed, take a used tea bag and “stain” the surface of the printed photo to give it an aged look. Realize that this will take some experimentation since different paper finishes will react differently and may smear the ink.
• Consider adding some “hand tinting” of features such as lips, eyes, hats, etc. with watercolors.
• Old photos - preferably CDV, Carte de Vista, or Cabinet format
• Glue gun with hot/cold settings
• Multipurpose glue sticks (hot and cold)
• Preserved Cedar or Sheet Moss
• Dried Mini Rosebuds
• Card stock
• Hole punch
1. Prepare a clean work surface and use a fabric drop cloth, old tablecloth or old bed sheet. Plug in the glue gun so it is warmed up and ready.
2. Select your photo prints. Go for groupings of infants, children, animals (which are very rare in CDVs), women with fancy hats, etc.
3. Glue card stock to the back of the photos using the glue gun. Select a color that compliments the color of your other ornaments. The card stock will be seen if the ornament happens to spin around.
4. Punch a hole at the top of the photo or the card stock to allow for an ornament hook or ribbon for hanging.
5. Select pieces of preserved cedar or sheet moss and arrange around edges of photo but do not glue.
6. When you are happy with the layout, begin gluing cedar to the photo using the glue gun.
7. Next, place mini-rosebuds in locations around the photo. I often choose the four corners or two corners (diagonally or horizontally across from each other).
8. When you are happy with the layout, begin gluing the rosebuds to the photo using the glue gun.
9. Remove any glue "ghosts" or "whispers" once glue has dried.
• Don't be afraid to experiment and use other items such as glitter, rhinestones, cedar roses, other types of dried flowers, etc.
• Try to keep the color of the embellishments the same as the colors of your other ornaments.
• Place flowers in the hair or on the hats of women.
• Try using bits of lace or ribbon for girls' dresses.
• Use a ribbon punch around the perimeter of the photo and lace satin ribbon through the holes.
• You may use white glue (Elmer's) or spray adhesive if you don't want to use a glue gun. You may have to wait longer for drying times.
I thought it would be neat to create magnets using ancestor photos but also to “teach” the younger generation about genealogy and family history.
Detailed instructions are not really needed – just create your photo prints in smaller sizes and paste on to magnets. You can purchase adhesive business card size magnets which are perfect.
Embellish the magnets with names and dates, perhaps even some of the dried roses or cedar from the ornament project above. Some examples can be seen here.
While this project seems simple in pasting the right sized photo on a journal book, remember to get creative with your embellishments. Develop a theme, use colors, old buttons, ribbons, etc.
The basic placemat involves a thin sheet of craft foam laminated on both sides using clear contact paper. Using a glue gun, attach your photos to the foam in a collage arrangement and add any embellishments like dried leaves, pressed flowers, etc. Then apply the contact paper and trim if necessary.
To make your own you will need to purchase a fabric that can be printed on using your ink jet printer – see the Resources list below. Print the photos and then incorporate them into your favorite quilt pattern.
You can use Jigsawpuzzle.com or even a site like Snapfish to send in your photo and receive a gift for the puzzle solver in your family.
Ebay - If you don't have old photos for scanning, they can be purchased in large lots, sometimes even grouped thematically by women, children, etc., on Ebay. I usually search under Collectibles, Photographic Images, Antique (Pre-1940), Cabinet Photos using the word "lot." I think that antique photos of children go well on a holiday tree.
Botanicals and Dried Flowers
San Francisco Herb Company – All jokes aside, this is the best place online to get dried flowers and even spices for cooking in bulk amounts at very reasonable prices. When I lived in San Francisco I would make monthly visits here on the way to the Flower Mart.
Atlex.com – they have an outstanding selection of photo printing papers including Hahnemühle Torchon which makes photographs look like paintings, and papers of various finishes and sizes.
Innova Digital Art – another outstanding selection of photo printing papers.
Fridgedoor.com – this place has incredible ideas for magnets and even has inkjet magnet paper for your printer!
Erica’s.com – there are many different types of photo fabrics to choose from.